Do I Need a Native-Speaking Tutor?

“Should I take lessons with native-speaking tutors or non-native tutors?”

Many new students ask this question. In terms of student satisfaction, there’s no difference between native and non-native English tutors based on their reviews and ratings. And with our Premium Plan, you can take lessons with both.

So, the answer to this question depends on what you want to do with your English. To help you decide, we’ve put together the following guide, complete with advice from actual students and tutors.

Do you want to improve your English pronunciation?

If you want to sound like a native speaker, you should probably study with a native English tutor. Our American tutors can help you improve your American accent, British tutors your British accent, Australian tutors your Aussie accent, and so on.

But if you just want to improve your pronunciation, native tutors aren’t necessarily better. For example, a native tutor told us, “Because of my northern English accent, students sometimes have trouble understanding me, especially when I get excited and talk faster.”

On the other hand, many of our highly-rated non-native tutors have accents that are understood by most English speakers around the world. Many Filipino tutors have experience working in call centers, which means they were trained to speak very clearly. You can find these tutors by searching “call center”:

Free text search option on the Engoo tutor search page

You can also find non-native tutors who majored in English at university. These tutors tend to have good accents as well. And don’t forget that you can watch the tutor’s self-introduction video before you book a lesson. This way, you’ll hear exactly what kind of accent the tutor has. 

Finally, our students tell us that one of their favorite things about Engoo is the diversity of our tutors. After all, English is a global language. The more practice you get listening to different accents, the better you become at communicating with people around the world regardless of their accent! 

So regardless of which accent you’d like to speak with, make sure to take advantage of the wide range of tutors on Engoo:

  • Our Standard Plan will give you a taste of English from Europe, Africa, and Latin America. 
  • Our Premium Plan will give you access to all of the above as well as accents from different corners of the English-speaking world. These include more well-known accents like those from the US and the UK and more unusual accents from South Africa or New Zealand.

Do you often interact with native speakers?

If you interact with native speakers in your everyday life, then you’ll probably want to learn with native English tutors. 

For example, a Japanese student who now goes to business school in the US, said, “Non-native tutors helped my speaking and listening improve, but I still wasn’t good enough to communicate with Americans. They pronounce things differently, speak faster, and use different vocabulary. To communicate on the same level as native speakers, I felt that I needed to practice with native speakers.”

However, if you’re unlikely to interact with native English speakers often, you probably don’t need to learn with native-speaking tutors. In fact, sounding too much like a native speaker can sometimes make you difficult to understand for other non-native speakers. 

Either way, you’ll probably want to learn with tutors who speak at a natural speed or faster, as this will help you better understand spoken English. You can find tutors like this by checking their self-introduction video and their reviews.

Reviews from students about a tutor.

You might also want to find tutors who have experience working in business or in your specific field. Many of our tutors have a degree in business and/or business experience. If you work for a bank, you can search for a tutor who has worked for a bank. If you work in HR, you can find a tutor with HR experience.

One of our students who is a web designer in Japan prefers to learn with non-native Japanese tutors who have design experience. This way, when she gets stuck trying to explain something related to design, she can say it in Japanese and the tutor can help her translate it into English.

Book Away!

Of course, there are many other things to consider when booking a lesson. For example, if you want advice on learning English, then you might want to book a lesson with a non-native tutor to ask them how they learned the language.

Either way, our experienced students tell us that the best way to find the right tutors for you is to start taking lessons. After the first week of lessons you’ll see what kind of tutoring styles suit you and whether you have a preference for native or non-native tutors.

So figure out your goals for English and start looking for tutors!